Bridge Building, Intersectionality and Inclusion
In 2013, Chicago Public Library (CPL) partnered with IDEO and Aarhus Library to develop the Design Thinking (DT) for Libraries Toolkit. This toolkit takes information professionals through a systematic process that can connect them with their user group, rapidly prototype solutions to their needs, and get to the appropriate scale without significant investment of resources. As the library focuses on engaging with traditionally marginalized and underserved communities, alternative ways of creating innovative programs that appeal to people of color should be embraced. DT has led the Chicago Public library down a path of customized programs that appeal to a new audience, allowing libraries to serve as a bridge between communities.
The presentation will discuss how the inspiration phase outlined in the toolkit establishes a useful methodology for identifying patrons needs' first when developing new programs, services and even spaces. We will also discuss the importance of developing a flexible patron-focused and solution driven culture when implementing a DT project.
Our patron-focused approach has led us down a path to explore the reach of geek culture. Our library has a collective of special interest groups that specifically target emerging adults and each have developed ways of connecting with their target group by employing empathy in design. By engaging with these groups we have found people who have common interests the library is equipped to served but, often are underrepresented in mass media.
Understanding the depth of geek culture to transcend barriers and engage with diverse communities is key to creating positive interactions between people of different backgrounds. We will explore the power of diverse gaming, and use an empathy-building game to help attendees understand how games can be used as a bridge-building tool. We will discuss how the learnings from these projects can be applied to reach out to people of color -- specifically geeks of color as we present criteria for designing inclusive programs. Using geek culture as a segue to other library services has proven to be a winning formula.